There are several areas in the Orlando district that are great for tourists. Kissimmee and International Drive are two of the most popular, but which is best?
Kissimmee is best if you plan to spend most of your Orlando vacation at Walt Disney World. Kissimmee is located outside the entrance of the Walt Disney World Resort. As such, you can be at most places within Walt Disney World in less than 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, if you don’t plan to hire a car, then International Drive is a great option. International Drive has excellent public transport options, restaurants, and entertainment options.
Having stayed in Kissimmee and on International Drive, I’ve broken down each area to help you decide what’s best for your vacation.
Kissimmee is located just outside the entrance to the Walt Disney World Resort. This is the largest city in Osceola County, Florida. As such, you’ll find many accommodation options here to suit all family sizes and budgets.
Kissimmee is 17 miles from Orlando International Airport (MCO). As such, you can get from the airport to your accommodation in Kissimmee in under 40 minutes.
Kissimmee is also in a prime location for the incredible Orlando theme parks:
- Walt Disney World: 12 miles
- SeaWorld Orlando: 12 miles
- Universal Orlando: 19 miles
Kissimmee is home to 120 hotels and 50,000 vacation homes. As such, accommodation options in Kissimmee are plentiful.
Budget hotels in Kissimmee go for as little as $60 a night. Meanwhile, luxury resorts in the area can often exceed $500 a night.
Some of my favourite accommodation options in Kissimmee include:
- Reunion Resort & Golf Club – An incredible five-star resort
- Berkley Lake Town Homes – Ideal for extended stays & large families
- GreenPoint Hotel– Just a 10-minute drive from Walt Disney World
If you want a vacation rental, I suggest Kissimmee instead of International Drive. Kissimmee has a lot more choices when it comes to vacation rentals. As such, you’ll find everything from condos to eight-bed mansions.
Given Kissimee’s size, the city has a lot to offer. From shopping outlets to affordable restaurants. It’s all here!
Major attractions are often the main reason for staying in Kissimmee. However, there are some other lesser-known attractions in the area. These include:
- Gatorland – An alligator experience like no other!
- The Old Town – Home to unique independent stores & carnival rides
- Fun Spot – An independent theme park.
Unlike Kissimmee, International Drive is not a city. Instead, International Drive is an 11.1-mile main road that passes through Orlando. Given its length, where you stay on International Drive is significant.
Since International Drive is an 11.1-mile long road, the distance to major attractions depends on where you stay.
International Drive starts at Oak Ridge in the north and ends at US 192 (Irlo Bronson Highway) near Celebration in the south. As a rough guide, here is the distance from International Drive to:
- Orlando International Airport (MCO): 12.5 – 18 miles
- Walt Disney World: 5 – 11 miles
- SeaWorld Orlando: 5 – 8 miles
- Universal Orlando: 4 – 11 miles
Most accommodation options along International Drive are hotels and resorts. Budget options here start from as little as $50 a night.
Some of my favourite places to stay on International Drive include:
- Rosen Inn – A great choice if you’re visiting Universal Studios
- Best Western Orlando Gateway – Has a shuttle bus to theme parks.
- Days Inn by Wyndham – Fantastic for families on a budget.
Since International Drive is the major thoroughfare in Orlando, it’s a great place to stay if you want to avoid hiring a car.
The LYNX bus service has several stops along International Drive. Meanwhile, the I-Ride Trolley system offers a more casual daily route from 8:00 am to 10:30 pm.
You’ll find everything from shopping outlets to entertainment districts along International Drive. Some of my favourite things include:
- The World’s Largest McDonald’s – Serving unique menu items!
- Madame Tussauds – Take photos with wax figures of significant icons
- Lost Caverns Adventure Golf – Orlando’s newest adventure golf attraction
Orlando Travel Planning Guide
🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Trip to Orlando?
If you’re travelling to Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.
However, if a trip to Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.
🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Trip to Orlando?
You don’t need to rent a car for a trip to Orlando (you can use rideshare services instead). However, a hire car will make your trip to Orlando significantly more convenient.
🏨 Where to Stay in Orlando?
Deciding where to stay in Orlando can be incredibly overwhelming. Having visited Orlando several times over the past decade, I’m going to try and make it as simple as possible.
- If you’re going to both Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World and don’t want to hire a car, then stay in an Orlando hotel with a shuttle to the theme parks.
- If you are travelling with kids and plan to do pool days, then book one of the many Orlando hotels with waterslides.
- If you are going to Walt Disney World on a budget, then stay in a hotel with both a free breakfast and theme park shuttle.
- If you are only visiting Universal Orlando, then spend a little extra for the perks of staying in a hotel onsite.
🎟️ Where To Buy Orlando Theme Park Tickets?
If you are visiting a theme park in Orlando, then you’ll need to purchase theme park tickets. If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Orlando theme park tickets.
Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.
Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix.
I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.